Santiago Day 1

Written by Safarigal
November 28, 2022

The flight from Dallas to Santiago was long, but uneventful, apart from not being able to have any of my chosen entrées for dinner. Note to self – order your meals in advance for your next flight.

Customs and immigration were very efficient. Despite filling out a long form on the plane, attempting to hand  over our vaccination cards, and trying to show him the form for agriculture that we had saved to our phones, all the official wanted was our passports. That was easy.

Our luggage was waiting for us when we arrived at the carousel and off we went in search of a taxi. We had not organized a Silversea transfer. There were 2 kiosks before you exit the customs area at which you can reserve your taxi. The amount quoted was 25,000 pesos ($27) and we were assured that we could pay using a credit card.

We exited into the terminal. There were several ladies there holding up Silversea signs for passengers on our plane who had arranged a transfer through them.

We were directed to a waiting taxi, and off we sped to the Mandarin Oriental.

I always love driving through new cities, but most of the route was through an underground tunnel so not much to see. About half an hour later we arrived at the hotel.

As it turned out, the taxi driver would not accept a credit card despite having a credit card reader in the taxi. He would only accept US dollars and insisted that we paid him $40. That was significantly more than what we had been quoted, but he was adamant, so wishing to avoid a scene, we paid him the $40 and off he sped.

The hotel has a very impressive multi storey lobby, it reminded me of those old Hyatt hotels, but it is so much nicer. It was 9:00 AM and not surprisingly our room was not ready. However, we were asked to go and have breakfast and were told our room would be ready soon. There was a great buffet breakfast, and you could have eggs cooked to order.

Yay! As soon as we finished breakfast we were told that our room was ready.

The room is lovely, very bright and spacious. There were complimentary cans of Coca Cola in the fridge (my kind of hotel), but alas no bathtub, only a shower.

After unpacking and having a shower we walked to the nearby shopping mall in search of an ATM, and to check out the Hop On Hop Off bus. Armed with a map and details about the bus we returned to the hotel and spent the rest of the day at the pool. It really is a great pool. The perfect place to relax and recover from an overnight flight.

I ordered a pisco sour and was surprised to find out that you can have a Peruvian or a Chilean pisco sour. I decided to try the Peruvian one which was a good choice, and it was delicious. Probably not the best thing to drink in the sun when you have a bit of jet lag, but I didn’t suffer any permanent side effects.

Dinner was at Matsuri, the hotel’s Japanese restaurant. We had an amazing meal; everything was absolutely delicious. A very good start to our vacation.

The only issue was that I had repeatedly gone to the Silversea desk during the day to ask for our welcome letter. The ladies were very sweet and obliging, but just kept on saying come back in an hour and we will have it. They never had it.

Post Discussion


  1. Jack Dawson

    Just curious, how long was the flight from Houston to Santiago?
    I’ve stayed at Mandarin Oriental hotels in Asia and they have always been excellent, this one appears to be no exception. I’m surprised that on a Silversea Expedition cruise the transfers were not included. Hope the beautiful weather holds out.

    • Safarigal

      The flight took about 9:00 hours – it was an east one really – dinner, a movie, sleep, wake up in Chile, except I wasn’t able to sleep well.

      Yes this MO is a real winner. Definitely recommend it.

      We are doing “port to port” so transfers from the airport were not included. We could have requested one, but it would have been $70 on a coach, so that really didn’t appeal to us. I thought a taxi would be quicker and cheaper. It turned out to be that way (we got to the hotel way before the folks who had a transfer), so it was OK in the end, but Brian does not like to get ripped off, which he thinks he was 🙂

  2. Simon Dancer

    Coming from England we did a different route. Flight to Buenos Aires, great city to explore. Flight to Ushuaia, southernmost city in the world, where we joined our ship.
    Hope you do not regret missing Falklands and South Georgia. Thats where the best wildlife is. Then down to Antarctica. I hope you haven’t slipped into American for pronunciation as Americans don’t say any of the c and t letters. We pronounce them all.
    Have a great trip.
    It won’t be as cold as you are expecting. Norway in Feb was much much colder.

    • Safarigal

      I must say I am sorry that we are not going to the Falklands and South Georgia – photos of the wild life there have been amazing. Still I hope we do get some good wild life sightings! With my hybrid US/UK accent people get confused as to where I’m from!

  3. Joy

    Let us know how the Covid testing process goes.

    • Safarigal

      Well, there was no COVID testing process as such, either for Chile or for the cruise. Silversea did not require testing if you were vaccinated. All we had to do was fill out a health form at the hotel and get our temperature taken and we were good to go.

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I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.